Product Reviews

LogMeIn Rescue: To the Rescue

Packed with useful features and easy to use, LogMeIn Rescue is a great product for supporting remote users.

The phone rings, and your angry CEO is calling from the airport. He's upset because his e-mail doesn't work and he needs to get some messages out for an important deal. You quickly check his user and e-mail account on the mail server and find no issues. The problem must be on his laptop. You try to walk him though checking his e-mail settings, and the experience proves frustrating for both you and the CEO. He doesn't know anything about his computer except how to send e-mail and browse the Web.

He yells at you about your horrible support and hangs up the phone. What could you have done differently?

Situations like these call for LogMeIn Rescue, a Web-based support application from LogMeIn Inc., the makers of LogMeIn Free. LogMeIn Rescue allows you to provide technical support to your remote PCs and Macs -- even to smartphones, with the LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile option.

Currently, there's support for Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry devices, with Apple iPhone support in beta. The application would be perfect for your help desk or for IT staffers who have to support computers remotely or on a large campus. Similar products appear to be missing some of the critical support features LogMeIn Rescue provides.

Installation
Installation was a piece of cake. I went to secure.logmeinrescue.com, signed up for the fully functional 14-day trial and within two minutes had the technician console installed. The console itself is just a simple ActiveX control that's only 7.48MB in size, so it was easy to move around to different computers and run the console from them. Also, the client that gets installed on workstations -- or even smartphones -- is light; the client that gets installed to a PC is only 1MB in size. As we look into how the product works, you'll see how easy it is to install the remote applet to your clients.

Connecting Made Simple
LogMeIn Rescue is easy to use.

Considering how quickly you can get the product up and running, there are lots of great features that can help solve technical issues in desktop support. To get started, click on the "new session" button from the technician console. From here, you have four options to create a way for a client to connect. You can connect a client via pin code, e-mail, a link or SMS. For example, if e-mail is the source of a problem, you can create a link and instant message it to users.

For smartphone support, use the SMS option to have the LogMeIn Rescue technician console send a text message to the phone you're trying to support. The user of the phone will simply get a message with a URL that they can click to join your phone in getting support. All of these options worked flawlessly and made it easy for the client to connect into LogMeIn Rescue.

On the client machine, the user clicks the link, and a small applet called the LogMeIn Rescue applet is installed on the client machine. The client can also be installed as a Windows service, if needed, in order to ease access for an IT person who needs to connect to that client. This means that LogMeIn can run on a computer in the background at all times the way an anti-virus program does. When a technician tries to connect, the agent will be running on the client machine.

REDMOND RATING
Installation: 20%
10.0
Features: 20%
10.0
Ease of Use: 20%
9.0
Administration: 20%
8.0
Documentation: 20%
10.0
Overall Rating:
9.6

Key: 1: Virtually inoperable or nonexistent  5: Average, performs adequately   10: Exceptional

From the technician console, wait for the customer to connect to LogMeIn Rescue; when they do, the user's session will show up in the session queue. Just double-click it, and you're now connected to the client. Best of all, the connection between the client and the console is encrypted using AES 256 bit. I tried LogMeIn Rescue on both a PC and on a Mac and had no issues at all getting the initial connection set up.

Unfortunately, when trying out the mobile option with my BlackBerry, I got the client installed fine but could never get it to connect back to LogMeIn Rescue. The error I got pointed to permissions settings that I couldn't change, as they came down from an IT policy on my BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). It was disappointing that just having one setting not match up was enough to make LogMeIn Rescue not work.

The good news for BlackBerry users, though, is that if you plan to use LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile, you could modify your policy and even deploy the client to the device from BES.

Fantastic Features
With a client connected to the technician console, the LogMeIn Rescue features really come to life. The user starts out with a chat window, so you can chat with them from the get-go to let them know what you're doing or if you need more information. Everything that happens with the console will show up in the chat window with explanations of what's occurring.

The primary feature is the ability to remotely control the client. This capability provides some nice features that can help in troubleshooting with your user. You can turn the user's screen into a whiteboard and actually circle something to show where an issue might be. This function seemed very responsive as I was running my technician console via a cellular air card and the client computer was on a broadband DSL connection. The only downside was that, after launching remote control, on both the PC running the console and the client machine I got an error from Windows Firewall prompting me to unblock before I could continue.

One of the most powerful features of the technician console is the "system info" area. Here you get a dashboard view of the system, which lists processes, services, applications installed, drivers, start-up applications and even a way to browse events in the Windows event logs. System info gives you a single view into what's going on with the client system, and it actually pulls the data back to the console so that you can quickly view all of this information and not have to navigate around the client via remote control. The only issue I found with system info was a minor one on the Mac client: The Mac PowerBook Pro I was using had 4GB of RAM, but system info said it only had 2GB.

Another nice option in the console is a file manager, which acts like an FTP client. From this, you can quickly and easily move files back and forth between computers. This is useful if you need to pull back an error log and want to analyze it on the computer running the technician console. There's an unattended access feature that allows you to set up a client to be connected via LogMeIn Rescue at all times. Using this, you can always pull up the technician console and access a machine if needed. This could be handy if you want to use LogMeIn Rescue on your servers and don't have a secure way to access them remotely.

Other options include the ability to reboot the machine, the ability to create and run scripts on the client machine, and a place where you can put notes so that in future uses someone can see what you did in the past. LogMeIn Rescue also includes the "administration center," where you can configure what your technicians can do. You can make these settings granular if need be: The idea is that you can have multiple techs working inside of LogMeIn Rescue. For example, if a tech hits a stumbling block, there's an easy was to transfer that session to another tech who can continue with the fix. Also, managers have the option to monitor their techs' sessions to see how they're helping the customer.

If what you've read thus far seems like a product you'd like to use, I recommend that you visit the LogMeIn Web site so you can check out all of the product's features.

All-Around Support
LogMeIn Rescue is a powerful support tool. When I was supporting desktops and remote users on a day-to-day basis, I would've killed for a tool like this. We tried similar products, but when it came to working with clients out of the office, they did not compare to LogMeIn Rescue in terms of functionality. Having the ability to service PCs, Macs and even smartphones from one product makes LogMeIn Rescue a product that can support all of your client devices.

I recommend trying the 14-day trial before you commit to the mobile option, just to make sure it'll work with the way you have your phones configured.

If you have remote users who need support on the road, LogMeIn Rescue is the product for you and your enterprise.

LogMeIn Rescue, Technician Console Version 6.2.743

Priced per seat at $99 per month (annual) or $129 per month (monthly)
LogMeIn Inc. | 866-478-1805 | secure.logmeinrescue.com



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